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Friday, October 31, 2014
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Published: Friday, 6/20/2014

United Way sets local goals for education, income, health

5-year plan to change fabric of community

BY JENNIFER GERSTEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The United Way of Greater Toledo on Thursday announced the launch of “LIVE UNITED 2020,” a set of goals for improving education, health care, and family income in Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties in the next five years.

Using data obtained from 300 round-table dialogues with community members, volunteers, stakeholders, and funded partners held over four years, United Way has established metrics by which it hopes to boost education, income, and health by 2020 in its three target counties. United Way president and CEO Karen Mathison said the project marks the first time the organization is using community-based metrics to achieve its aims.

“This is a monumental moment for us,” Ms. Mathison said. “[The metrics] are a stake in the ground that will help us gain laser focus so that over the next five years we can collectively as a community respond to and get after these big issues.”

Only 33 percent of entering kindergartners in Lucas County, 47 percent in Ottawa County, and 50 percent in Wood County begin school “ready to succeed,” Ms. Mathison said. In each county, United Way plans to increase student readiness by at least 10 percent.

In an effort to reduce financial stress and increase access to basic needs services, the organization plans to try to move at least 6,318 individuals in Lucas County above the federal poverty line. Ms. Mathison also said United Way intends to improve the health of 40,558 children and adults in Lucas County and at least 2,052 children and youth in Wood and Ottawa Counties.

“These goals are bold,” Ms. Mathison said. “They’ll take different thinking, smarter work, and collaborating in new ways, but we think they’re attainable when the community works together. We can change the fabric of our community when we achieve these goals.”

United Way plans to update the community on its progress every six months and adjust its metrics if necessary.



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